Q: Does the state of Missouri have protections for consumers victimized by contractors?
A: Yes, Missouri has a strong consumer protection statutes, the Merchandising Practices Act (MPA).
The MPA can be a defendant’s nightmare. It covers consuer contracts and creates liability for even innocent misrepresentations:
1. The act, use or employment by any person of any deception, fraud, false pretense, false promise, misrepresentation, unfair practice or the concealment, suppression, or omission of any material fact in connection with the sale or advertisement of any merchandise in trade or commerce . . . in or from the state of Missouri, is declared to be an unlawful practice.
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Any act, use or employment declared unlawful by this subsection violates this subsection whether committed before, during or after the sale, advertisement or solicitation.
Mo. Rev. Stat. § 407.020.1.
Available damages under the MPA exceed those of a mere claim for breach of contract:
1. Any person who purchases or leases merchandise primarily for personal, family or household purposes and thereby suffers an ascertainable loss of money or property, real or personal, as a result of the use or employment by another person of a method, act or practice declared unlawful by section 407.020, may bring a private civil action in either the circuit court of the county in which the seller or lessor resides or in which the transaction complained of took place, to recover actual damages. The court may, in its discretion, award punitive damages and may award to the prevailing party attorney’s fees, based on the amount of time reasonably expended, and may provide such equitable relief as it deems necessary or proper.
Mo. Rev. Stat. § 407.025.1.
Some attorneys file these cases on a percentage or contingency basis. Call an attorney with MPA experience. I'm sorry that you've been wronged.
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